Tuscan bread salad, also known as Panzanella, is an Italian classic. It is a great way to put old bread to use. High quality oil and vinegar are a necessity in this dish since they soak up into the bread and compliment the veggies. Use it as an appetizer salad or a side dish to a light summery dish as it will compliment your meal.
The trick is to use high quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Go for a homemade fresh bread with little to no salt, as the flavor will come from the oil and vinegar it soaks up. However, the bread can be slightly old and hard, as this dish will rejuvenate it into something new. The longer this dish is left to settle, the better it gets. The flavors will continue to infuse and improve the flavor.
Cut the bread, tomatoes, pepper, and cucumber into bite size pieces. Arrange in a serving bowl. Add the onion (thinly sliced) and basil (chiffonade cut). In order to cut the basil chiffonade style, lay the basil leaves one on top of another in a stacking fashion. Roll them up like a tortilla, then slice it along the roll. The basil will unroll and leave you with beautiful strands to decorate your dish.
Drizzle the bread and veggies with the Dark Balsamic and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly. Finish by drizzling with an extra virgin olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Let sit at least 30 minutes before enjoying. This will allow the oil and vinegar to soak into the break, improving flavor and consistency.